Book Awards

The NWT Writers’ Society offers two annual book awards that recognize the best the NWT has to offer. Established in 2010 the NorthWords Book award recognizes an outstanding book, set in the North and published by an NWT author in the previous year. In 2017, with funding from NT Power Corporation, the NorthWords Youth Book Award was created to recognize outstanding youth literature. Winners are announced during the festival at the NorthWords Gala. Both book awards include a $1,000 prize for the winner. If a book has more than one author, the prize money will be divided between the authors.

Eligibility: A novel, children’s book, collection of short stories, poetry or essays, creative non-fiction or memoir that has northern themes and settings. The author must have a strong connection to the Northwest Territories by meeting one of the following criteria:

  1. Was raised and/or schooled in the NWT and maintains strong ties to the NWT
  2. Lived in the NWT for a period of at least five years
  3. Currently lives in the NWT and has for a minimum of 1 year prior to the year in which the book was released.

Submissions for the 2021 NorthWords Book Awards for books published in 2020 will open on February 1st, 2021. More information on how to apply will be posted here.

The 2020 Book Awards winners will be announced via Zoom at 2 pm on January 24, 2021. Click here to register

2019 Winners

True North Rising

by Whit Fraser
published by Burnstown Publishing House

A Journey Down the River

by Rachel VanderVeen
illustrated by Neiva Mateus
published by the South Slave Divisional Education Council


Previous Recipients

  • Reawakening our Ancestors Line by Angela Hovak Johnson (2018 Adult)
  • When We Play Our Drums, They Sing by Richard Van Camp (2018 Youth)
  • How the Raven Returned the Sun by Crystal Doherty and Carla Taylor (2017)
  • Ramshackle by Alison McCreesh (2016)
  • Kinds of Winter by Dave Olesen (2015)
  • One of the most busiest ports in the North by Sandra Dolan (2014)
  • Nighthawk! by Jamie Bastedo (2013)
  • Body Trade by Margaret Macpherson (2012)
  • The Caribou Feed Our Soul by Pete Enzoe and Mindy Willett (2011)
  • Myth of the Barrens by Bren Kolson (2010)